Friday, December 11, 2020

Review: The Second Mother by Jenny Milchman

Title: The Second Mother
Author: Jenny Milchman
Published: August 2020, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: ARC Paperback, 464 pages
Source: Publisher

Opportunity: Teacher needed in one-room schoolhouse on remote island in Maine. Certification in grades K-8 a must.

Julie Weathers isn't sure if she's running away or starting over, but moving to a remote island off the coast of Maine feels right for someone with reasons to flee her old life. The sun-washed, sea-stormed speck of land seems welcoming, the lobster plentiful, and the community close and tightly knit. She finds friends in her nearest neighbor and Callum, a man who appears to be using the island for the same thing as she: escape.

But as Julie takes on the challenge of teaching the island's children, she comes to suspect that she may have traded one place shrouded in trouble for another, and she begins to wonder if the greatest danger on Mercy Island is its lost location far out to sea, or the people who live there.

My thoughts:  I have come to really love Jenny Milchman's books. They are atmospheric and dark and this one was no exception.

I loved the slow-burn of this book. It is set on a remote island in Maine, and you completely feel the isolation that that brings, which is exactly what Julie is looking for - someplace to get away from her old life where she can forget about all the loss she has experienced and possibly have a fresh start. Little does she know she is basically trading one bad spot for another.

I really enjoyed this book, though I will say that there are times when it feels that it is just a little too slow. There is a lot of dialogue and not much action, and that makes this slow-burn feel even slower at times. But it does end up redeeming itself in the end and I found it to overall be quite a good mystery that kept me intrigued as I needed to know how everything would play out. Whenever secrets are involved, I am like that nosy neighbor who needs to know everything and I just could not walk away until everything was revealed and I feel that it all wrapped up quite nicely.

I am a fan of Jenny's books and I think this one ended up being a good book in the end. It's different than her other books and that's ok - sometimes taking a chance and going a different route is a nice chance a pace.  



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